Interoperability describes the ability of a system, device or application to communicate with other systems, devices or programs of the same standard in a comparable system environment. Interoperability is decisive for the exchange of documents between departments, companies and institutions, between provider and customer.
Interoperability represents the goal of internetworking particularly in that it creates an abstract, hardware-independent network environment. This allows computers to communicate with each other over networks without the parties involved knowing what technology underlies the devices used. Interoperability is ensured in all technical areas by the many standardization committees. In industry as well as in health care, in telecommunications as well as in data processing, data storage and software technology.
Interoperability is divided into syntactic, semantic and cross- domain interoperability. Syntactic inter operability deals with the various command and file formats as well as protocols and description languages so that systems can communicate with each other and display their texts, graphics, audios and videos.
Semantic interoperability is about the exchange, understanding and interpretation of information. This is achieved when all system components involved in communication use consistent encodings and formats. And cross-domain inter operability refers to standardized practices and guidelines of the systems used. This is not about technically relevant aspects, but about organizational ones.